OMAN: USD 260 million subsidies for fishermen, over five years.

An article in the online edition of Oman Daily Observer mentions the figure of Omani Rial (RO) 100 million (or USD 260 million) over five years financial assistance package to the Omani fishing and aquaculture industry.

The article quotes Dr Hamed bin Said al Oufi, Fisheries Wealth Under-Secretary as saying that the bulk of the subsidies will go to fisheries infrastructure. Dr. Al Oufi added that the planned amount was "is more than four times what was allotted during the previous Plan" and that "part of the allocation will also help finance the upgrade of the fishing fleet, marketing chain infrastructure, training, exploration of new markets, and improvements in the quality of fish."

Speaking about the state of the Omani fisheries industry he said that: “Subsidies are not the only thing that fishermen will need. There are other sources of financing: the Oman Development Bank (ODB), for example, gives loans at almost zero interest rate. This is the future of developing the sector. Subsidies, on the other hand, have two sides — a positive side and a negative side. People get subsidies and don’t become active because they don’t have to pay back anything.”

Another interesting statement by Dr. Al Oufi refers to the export prohibitions in place for "five notified species" . Looking in the Internet for more information on this export bans I found an article in the Oman Tribune where it is stated that the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, issued a decision banning export of kanad (kingfish), sahwa (tuna), al gethar, and al safi for six months, from December 1, 2011.

Here is the link to the article on subsidies in the Oman Daily Observer:

Here the link to  the article of the Oman Tribune on the export prohibitions.


USA: subsidies for at-sea monitoring (catch shares program)

Recently I came a across a couple of articles in the online edition of East-coast newspapers. The first article, posted at Southcoasttofday.com, dated 13 October 2011, is titled “Senators say bill seeks to protect fishermen, taxpayers”. It is about a bill co-sponsored by Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., and Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H. that, if enacted, could, according to the newspaper “roll back” the catch shares programme in the ground fish industry. The newspaper quotes the following a statement by Senator Kelly Allote:

"To date, these costs have largely been subsidized by taxpayers, and fishermen will soon have to bear these additional costs themselves, which could push small fishermen out of business completely." 

In the article it is stated that the cost runs from 6 to 12 million USD per year. The full statement of Senator Allote can be found here:

A later article, also in the Gloucester Time and dated 20 October 2011, refers to a field Senate Commerce Committee hearing in Boston, where National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration  (NOAA) Administrator Ms. Jane Lubchenco answered questions from Senators on the implementation of the catch shares programme in the East Coast.  The article mentions Ms Lubchenco pledge to continue to subsidise the at-sea monitoring cost through April 2013.

There is also a reference to reference to a letter by Ms Lubchenco, in response to a letter from Senator Kerry, where she  is ready to work with interested parties to issue, if necessary a commercial fishery "disaster declaration" related to the impacts of the catch share regimen on the groundfishery. This “disaster declaration” can trigger the payment of subsidies to fishermen.

Here is a link to Senators Kerry’s webpage where readers can find the requests addressed by Senator Kerry to NOAA and the response letter from Ms. Lubchenco.

Here is also the link to the Senate’s Commerce Committee website where readers can find the written statements related to the field hearing in Boston on 3 October 2011:

And here are the links to the press articles:

I also include the link to two video's. One is from Senator Allote questioning a Department of Commerce nominee on fisheries issues: 

And another from Mayor Carolyn A. Kirk, Democrat Gloucester Massachusetts asking  President Obama "to Stop New Regulations Driving Small Businesses Out of Business". The video was posted on 4 October 2011, i.e. one day after the field hearing of the Senate's Commerce Committee:


New Zealand: foreing vessels (and foreign subsidies?) and charter agreements

Some of my previous posts on NZ included a one titled "Domcumentary on NZ fishing practices" (15/08/2009).

New Zealand's authorities have taken these allegations very seriously and have launched a "Ministerial Inquiry into Foreign Charter Vessels" on these practices.

When going through some of the documents related to the inquiry and looking at the "nationality" of the vessels involved in the fishing operations (South Korea, Ukraine, Japan and Dominica) I wondered whether NZ companies where benefiting from subsidised fishing capacity, i.e. from vessels that would have been built with subsidies (investment susbsidies) and that would receive subsidies for operating costs (for example lower social security contributions) from the flag countries.

Perhaps readers have comments on this, i.e. the possible use of subsidised vessels, and its relation to WTO issues, such as the export of products that have benefited from subsidies (WTO Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing measures).
Similarly to what the US vs. Canada softwoodlumber case highlighted, could we speak here of the "passing-through" of, say, a South Korean subsidy (for the construction of the vessel), to the NZ company operating the charter arrangement and exporting the product to a third country? Should counter-vailing measures be adopted, against whom should they be directed? Againts NZ or against South Korea?

Comments and views are welcome!

Here is the link to the page of the Fisheries Ministry's website with information on the inquiry:


And here the link to the "Nautical Blog" with a post on this issue (chartering in New Zealand):



EU: Commissioner Damanaki on the new EU's fisheries fund

Ms Damanaki European Commissioner, in charge of Fisheries and Maritime Affairs, lifted a corner of the veil on the Commission's proposal for a future EU's fisheries fund. This happened during a hearing at the UK's Parliament House of Commons Select Committee on Envrionment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Here is the link to the UK's Parliament website with the video of the hearing. The discussion on the new fisheries fund takes place at the end of the hearing (from 12h22 on):


MALDIVES: governement sued because of non-disbursement of fisheries subsidies

When looking in the Internet for news on fisheries subsidies I stumbled upon an article published in the online edition of the "Minivan News".

The title of the aritcle is "DQP sues Finance Ministry for non-payment of fisheries subsidies". According to the article the "Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP) is withholding the budget allocated for fuel subsidies for fishermen".

Here is the link to the article:


NZ: interesting presentation by governement official on WTO negotiations

Here is the link to a presentation by a New Zealand's governement official on the WTO negotiations on fisheries subsidies.


ALGERIA: minimum salary for fishermen for "biological stops"

Algeria will be paying subsidies for fishermen who have to stop fishing activities to let fish reproduce. The subsidy cosnsists of a minimum guaranteed monthly salary of 18,000 Algerian Dinar (250 USD).

Here is the link to an article (in French) published by AFP - Romandie News